If you’re living in Ann Arbor and don’t know who Eber White is, here’s your chance to fill in that gap in your knowledge of local history.
Mr. White or “Eberwhite,” as he’s come to be known over the many decades since he made his mark on Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County in the early to mid-1800s, was one of the first settlers of the City of Ann Arbor.
He was a remarkable man for many other reasons. White was a deeply patriotic man who came to Ann Arbor in 1824. Upon his arrival he bought land at what is now Seventh and Dartmoor Street on both sides of Liberty; known then as White’s Road.
He left for his home state of New York for a time, returning after he married his wife Polly Rogers. Like so many Washtenaw County residents even today, Eber couldn’t stay away for long. The newly married White’s returned to Ann Arbor and immediately built a rustic log cabin as their residence on the north side of Liberty.
In 1840 the couple built their permanent home on what is now the southeast corner of Eberwhite Boulevard and Liberty, where their raised a family of six children.
During his lifetime, Eber was a pillar of the community, including his involvement founding the first Methodist congregation in Ann Arbor with four other parishioners, acting as one of the main organizers of the county’s agricultural society, and fighting the good fight against the institution of slavery as a supporter of freemen fleeing slavery on the Underground Railroad.
Although he died more than 140 years ago, Eber White’s mark remains on Ann Arbor with a school, a street, and a neighborhood named after him.
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